7 Ways to Manage Student Stress

Stress is something that affects us all in different ways. As a student, one...

7 Ways to Manage Student Stress

Stress is something that affects us all in different ways. As a student, one...

Stress is something that affects us all in different ways. As a student, one of your major sources of difficulty is likely to be your academic workload. Other things can cause you to feel overwhelmed too, including relationships, money, and work. However, there are healthy ways to deal with stress and manage it so that it doesn’t affect you negatively.

What Is Stress?

We often think of stress as something negative, but it’s not always a bad thing. A certain amount can motivate us, push us to work hard, and build resilience. It is a response to things in our life that we can usually control, and which we can take steps to manage better. But stress can also become overwhelming and difficult to manage. It can cause feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to achieve what we want, instead of pushing us to work hard.

How Do Students Experience Stress?

Students can find that they are affected by stress in numerous ways. It’s natural to feel somewhat stressed when you’re at university. You have academic pressure, plus you might be managing various other issues that make your experience at uni even harder. Nearly half of students in the UK feel stressed by their course, although exactly how much varies by institution.

How to Recognise Academic Stress

When you’re feeling stressed, you might react in a few different ways. It might make you want to avoid things, or you might find it difficult to get things done. You can be physically affected by these feelings too, experiencing symptoms of anxiety such as an increased heart rate or headaches. Or you can experience emotional and psychological symptoms, from feeling panicked and anxious to finding it difficult to sleep.

How to Manage Stress

Stress is to be expected when you’re at university, but if you’re finding it overwhelming, there are ways to manage it. With the right techniques, you can make sure that it doesn’t affect you too much. You can even use small amounts of pressure to your advantage to help yourself be more driven.


Mindfulness is an excellent method for managing stress. People often feel anxiety because they are overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings about the past and future. Perhaps you’re worried about an essay that wasn’t marked too highly or about an upcoming exam. Mindfulness aims to get you focusing on the here and now, so you can keep calm and take things one step at a time. If you want to practise mindfulness, you might find that a guided mindfulness session is helpful. You can use an app or find a video or podcast online to guide you through your practice.

Get Physical

Frequent exercise is great for helping you deal with stress. When you exercise regularly, it helps you to process feelings of worry and anxiety through a physical outlet. There are lots of ways to be more active, and you don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. You could join a sports club, go for a run, do some yoga in your room, or attend an exercise class. But your uni gym can also be great value if you want to make use of it.

Connect with Others

Spending time with other people makes stress easier to handle too. When you spend time with others, it gives you the opportunity to forget about your worries and focus on other things. Alternatively, it can be a good outlet if you feel like having a moan or you want to talk to your friends or coursemates about the things that are making you worried. It can make you feel less alone to learn that other students are also experiencing the same problems.

Manage Your Time Effectively

Stress can overwhelm you if you’re struggling to manage your time effectively. When you don’t have a handle on how you divide your time between different commitments and activities, you can find yourself having to rush to finish work or facing multiple assignments all at once. There are lots of techniques you can use to make the best use of your time. Try planning ahead and setting deadlines so that you can decide what you need to do and when in advance.

Get Quality Sleep

If you’re not sleeping well, it can have a significant effect on your stress levels. Poor quality sleep or not enough sleep can affect you in many ways, including changing your mood, making it hard to concentrate, and making it more difficult to deal with your emotions. Even though there are times when you might stay up late, whether because you’re enjoying yourself or trying to finish some work, it’s important to try and sleep well on a consistent basis. Quality sleep can tie into good time management. Try not to stay up too late too often.

Don’t Rely on Stimulants

It’s tempting to turn to substances that can keep you awake and focused when you’re stressed, whether it’s caffeine or something stronger. It might seem like the answer to your problems, but it could end up making things worse. If you’re using stimulants to help you focus, you can end up dealing with big crashes in mood and energy when they wear off. You might find that you actually end up making yourself more overwhelmed and anxious, rather than improving matters.

Avoid Procrastination

It’s so easy to fall victim to procrastination, especially when you convince yourself you have plenty of time to do something. Procrastination can also be tempting when you’re feeling stressed because avoiding your work seems easier compared to actually getting it done. However, the longer you put something off, the more pressure you can start to feel. You’re going to be under more pressure trying to get an essay written in 24 hours than you would be planning ahead and finishing with time to spare. Avoid procrastination and plan your time effectively to get your work done.

Taking steps to manage stress can help to make your time at university much more fun. Get on top of stress before it overwhelms you.

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